There are a lot of significant siblings in the Game of Thrones universe, like the Starks, the Lannisters, and the Tyrells. Their relationships might be varying levels of dysfunctional -- looking at you, Jaime and Cersei -- but no matter what, they have each other’s backs amidst the chaos of battles and ever-changing alliances.
Two notable exceptions to that rule? Sandor and Gregor Clegane, otherwise known as the Hound and the Mountain.
The two have hated each other since older brother Gregor shoved young Sandor’s face into a fire when they were kids. In adulthood, Gregor was named a Ser despite his reputation as a rapist and murderer. Sandor, meanwhile, became Joffrey’s personal bodyguard. (He’d also be forever cynical of lords and ladies after his brother became Ser Clegane.)
Seven seasons into the show, both brothers are still alive (kind of) and important to the story in different ways. The Hound is traveling with the Brotherhood Without Banners, while the Mountain has become Cersei’s hired muscle. They might be side characters now, but there are rumors that they’re an important part of the series’ ending. Before we finish up season seven, here are 16 Things You Didn’t Know About The Hound And The Mountain.
16 Fans believe there will be a final “Cleganebowl” showdown
A Mountain vs. Hound fight was teased way back in season one, when the Hound stops his older brother from cleaving Loras Tyrell in half. However, that’s nothing compared to the epic battle that fans are convinced will happen towards the end of the series. Picture a climactic battle between two of the best and biggest fighters in Westeros, with the added rage of a lifetime of resentment, and you have Cleganebowl.
Originally, fans theorized that the Clegane brothers would be forced to fight when The Mountain was named as Cersei’s champion in a trial by combat. Tommen outlawed trial by combat last season, but the theory hasn’t died. Scenes from the season seven trailer seemed to hint that the Hound is back in King’s Landing, which would put him in a great place for an ultimate showdown. Considering that Sandor is believed to be among those accompanying Jon Snow (and Dany?) to meet with Cersei in the season 7 finale, there's a very real chance that the Cleganebowl we've all been waiting for is right around the corner.
15 The Hound’s horse is named after a god
Before this season, when the Hound seems to become a follower of the Lord of Light, it was hard to picture Sandor Clegane as a religious man. (He’s even been known to curse the gods on several occasions.) It might surprise fans to learn that his black warhorse is actually named after one of the Seven, the gods who influence most of southern Westeros.
In typical fashion, the horse is named Stranger, after the seventh and most mysterious god in the Faith of the Seven. The Stranger is the god of death and the unknown. People also rarely pray to it. For a man who enjoys killing as much as the Hound, it’s fitting that he would name the horse he rides into battle after the god of death.
14 The Mountain has his own soldiers
Gregor Clegane probably has the power and strength of an entire army in his little finger. However, if you want to be even more terrified of the humongous man, consider the fact that he has his own soldiers, called the Mountain’s Men. Imagine going up against both the Mountain and his sworn swords.
We’ve seen a few of them pop up over the course of the show, though you might not have made the connection. The Tickler (killed by Arya), was one of the Mountain’s Men, as was Polliver -- though he was in service to both the Mountain and Ser Amory Lorch on the show. All of the men, like Gregor himself, are known for their extreme violence and cruelty.
The Mountain’s Men have obviously disbanded since their leader is “dead,” but they wreaked some serious havoc on the countryside before that.
13 The Hound killed his first man as a child
Sandor Clegane has said multiple times that not only is he good at killing, he enjoys it. He might not be as deranged as his brother, but he still seeks out jobs that will let him kill ‘legally’. He’s clear that he doesn’t think much of the distinction, though -- killing is killing, whether you have a fancy title or not.
It turns out that the Hound has been a killing machine probably since he hit puberty. He says in A Game of Thrones that he killed his first man when he was just twelve years old. Given his age and the time period, we can guess that this was probably during (or around the time of) Robert’s Rebellion. It wasn’t just the Stark and Baratheon boys who got their first taste of war back then.
12 The Mountain has been portrayed by 3 actors
We’ve seen so many different faces and characters of the course of Game of Thrones that it can be hard to keep people straight. If you didn’t notice that the Mountain has been played by three different people, we can hardly blame you. There’s a lot going on.
In season 1, the Mountain was played by professional wrestler Conan Stevens. However, he left the show after the first season to play the Orc king in The Hobbit prequel trilogy. He was replaced by Ian Whyte for the second season, who also played the White Walker in the pilot. Whyte moved on to play wildling giants (including Wun-Wun!), so the Mountain has been portrayed by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson since then.
Björnsson is 6’9” and 400 pounds, so we think they ended up with the perfect actor.
11 The Hound’s face is more terrifying in the books
We’re all familiar with the slightly melted half of the Hound’s face on the show. In typical show-biz fashion, he’s just disfigured enough for it to be distinctive, but not too badly to be truly disturbing. (The same goes for Tyrion, who’s technically supposed to be missing a nose.)
In the books, the wounds left by his sadistic older brother are far more disturbing. The right side of his face is completely burned, and his ear is just a stump on the side of his head. The burned side is black, with a few oozing red craters. There’s a mass of scar tissue around his eye, and a bit of bone showing on his jaw.
This would be impossible to pull off on multiple episodes of a TV show for a number of reasons...but it would still be cool as hell.
10 The Mountain is 8 feet tall and 420 pounds
It’s hard not to think that Björnsson was just meant to play the role of the Mountain. Besides his strength and undefeated reputation in battle, Gregor Clegane is known for being an absolutely humongous man. His nickname isn’t “The Mountain That Rides” for nothing, folks.
His character is meant to be eight feet tall and 420 pounds of sheer muscle. He has to have custom armor made for him given his size, and it’s the heaviest in all of Westeros. He’s also so strong that he’s able to wield a six-foot-long sword in battle with just one hand. Rumor has it he’s cut men completely in half before.
Given the height and weight mentioned above of Mountain actor Björnsson, we’d say that’s pretty perfect casting - even if he's just a touch smaller than the monstrosity of the source material.
9 Sansa formed an odd bond with The Hound
Sansa Stark and the Hound didn’t exactly get off to the best start -- after all, it the Hound was among the Lannister guards that killed Ned Stark’s bodyguards and arrested him. He’s also present when Joffrey takes Sansa to see her father’s severed head, though Sandor is the only one present who seems to care about her pain.
After Joffrey triggers a city-wide riot in season two, however, it’s the Hound who goes back into the fray to save Sansa from a gang of would-be rapists. And when the Battle of the Blackwater seems bleak, he goes up to her room to offer to take her back to Winterfell and away from the Lannisters. But she refuses out of fear, and the Hound eventually ends up traveling with her younger sister Arya instead.
8 The Mountain suffered from extreme headaches
So much time is spent on the Mountain’s physical prowess that it’s hard to think of him with any kind of physical weakness at all. In the books, we learn that his body does have one flaw -- he suffers from extreme headaches.
His squire spills the beans that Gregor Clegane chugs milk of the poppy to try to keep the pain at bay. No one knows what caused them. While it could have been an unfortunate side effect of his size, while others think that he got one too many head injuries in battle.
Either way, as the story progressed, the state of Gregor’s head doesn’t matter quite as much as it did in early books...for several reasons, which we’ll get to below.
7 Sandor almost always wears his hound helm
We see the Hound’s infamous helm in the pilot of the series -- a great identifier for the character and a good way to remember one of the many people we were introduced to. However, for several reasons, he doesn’t wear it all that often on the show. It’s easy to guess why. A helm like that blocks our view of the actor’s face, it’s a pain to work with, the list goes on.
However, in the books, the hound helm is one of his identifying features. It’s even an important plot point. When no one is sure whether the Hound is alive or dead, reports of a man wearing a hound helm lead people to think he’s alive. Brienne goes in search of him, but it turns out that the raiding man wearing the helm isn’t the Hound at all -- just someone who happened to pick it up.
6 The Mountain’s home is just as terrifying as he is
The family seats of the great houses on Game of Thrones are almost as distinctive as the families themselves. The family seat of the Clegane brothers is Clegane’s Keep, which belongs to older brother Gregor. For any Westerosi geography buffs, Clegane’s Keep is located close to Casterly Rock in the Westerlands (AKA the west of Westeros).
Their family seat matches the personalities of both brothers, but mainly the Mountain. It’s said that servants disappear for no reason, never to be seen again. The atmosphere is so unsettling that even dogs won’t go down the hallways. Between the Mountain’s fondness for killing and his unpredictable temper, it’s likely that some pretty terrible things have happened in those halls. It’s not cursed like Harrenhal, but it’s pretty close.
5 The books haven’t confirmed if The Hound is even alive
Although last season confirmed for us that the Hound was indeed alive after he was left to die by Arya, the books haven’t quite reached that point yet. In the third entry is the series, A Storm of Swords, Sandor and Arya come across two of The Mountain’s Men, Polliver and the Tickler. Arya and the Hound win the fight, but the Hound is seriously hurt, and Arya leaves him like she does in the show.
In the next book, A Feast for Crows, Brienne goes in search of the Hound, trying to find either Sansa or Arya. However, a monk tells her that the Hound is dead, and that he has buried him himself. Fans theorize that he was referring to the murderous, violence-loving aspect of Sandor’s personality, and that he was cryptically saying that Sandor is a changed man.
4 Beric Dondarrion has been killed three times by a Clegane
We know Beric Dondarrion as the lord who has been repeatedly brought back to life by Thoros, the recently deceased priest of the Lord of Light. Two of Beric's (many) deaths were at the hands of none other than the Mountain himself -- including the first time he was killed -- and the Hound manages to slay Beric once himself.
The Mountain initially killed Dondarrion in the first book. Dondarrion and Thoros were sent to bring Gregor to justice after he begins raiding the Riverlands at the command of Tywin Lannister, who wanted to draw Ned Stark into battle. They failed, of course, and Dondarrion was killed. Gregor Clegane killed Dondarrion a second time in A Clash of Kings, when the Mountain’s Men fought the Brotherhood Without Banners. We wonder if he ever got sick of killing the same man over and over again.
Of course, the only time TV audiences have seen Beric fall was at the hands of the Hound back in season 3, bringing his Clegane death total to three.
3 There’s a fan theory that The Hound is Azor Ahai
Most fans are divided between Jon and Daenerys as Azor Ahai, or the Prince(ss) who was promised. However, there’s another corner of the Game of Thrones fandom who think it’s someone else entirely -- Sandor Clegane.
The theory goes like this -- the Hound was born of fire, in a way, since much of his personality was shaped by being burned as a child. In a way, he died and was resurrected, since he was brought back from the brink of death when Arya ditched out on him. (Plus, fans all thought he died.) He’s had a redemption arc going on the show, and this season, we saw him read the future in the flames.
Only time will tell, but some fans have already convinced themselves that the biggest twist will be the reveal of Azor Ahai the Hound of Clegane's Keep.
2 The Mountain’s skull was sent to Dorne
After the Mountain was killed by Oberyn Martell in Tyrion’s trial by combat, Qyburn brought him back from the dead. Despite the fact that Cersei's new personal bodyguard rarely takes off his helmet, the TV series has made it very clear that Ser Gregor has been transformed into a mindless, zombie-esque beast
In the books, Gregor’s skull was sent to Dorne as recompense for the deaths of Elia Martell and her children. Qyburn makes a big deal out of how many beetles it took to clean the flesh away so that it could be delivered. The Martells are skeptical at first, but the size of the skull makes its owner pretty obvious. However, if his skull was indeed the one sent to Dorne, no one knows what will be revealed if the enormous new addition to the Kingsguard (named Ser Robert Strong in the books) ever removes his helmet.
1 Two family members died...mysteriously
“Mysterious” family deaths aren’t uncommon in the Game of Thrones universe. At this point, we’d be more surprised if there were a family without some skeletons in the closet.
The Clegane brothers reportedly have two deaths to account for, as rumor has it that they weren’t the only children born to their parents. Many think that they also had a younger sister, who died under mysterious circumstances. It’ll be interesting to see if that comes up again in the books.
Their father also died in a fishy situation. After Robert Baratheon took the throne, the elder Clegane was killed in a “hunting accident,” conveniently allowing Gregor Clegane to assume control of Clegane’s Keep. Given the Mountain’s ties to the Lannisters, who know a thing or two about staging deaths while hunting, we can't help but wonder what really happened on that hunting trip.
What’s your favorite piece of trivia about the Hound and the Mountain? Who are you betting on to win Cleganebowl? Let us know in the comments!